Some Republicans wary of Dennis Baxley after gun bill redraft

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A Senate panel on Thursday pushed forward a redraft of a bill that would allow people to bring guns to churches with attached schools as long as there are no school-sponsored activities going on.

Before changes to the bill were approved, two Republicans in the Judiciary Committee expressed concern that the Republican sponsor of the bill, Sen. Dennis Baxley, would “violate” their trust if he decides to abandon the Senate’s effort for the House version.

“Our concern is that changing the spirit of what is being discussed in this committee, of agreeing to changes to this bill, would violate a certain level of trust that we have amongst each other as colleagues,” Sen. Anitere Flores said.

Sen. Rene Garcia was also weary that Baxley’s proposal could morph into something else as the legislative process moves forward.

“If the House sends something back that does not meet the spirit of this committee’s work, would you kill your own bill at that point? Or would you go with the House version?” Garcia asked.

Baxley said his intent is to “fully honor” the Senate-approved changes to his bill.

“I’m just hesitant to say things that I can’t control in the rest of the process when many times I am not the decider of those things,” Baxley said.

Baxley’s bill would allow those with concealed carry permits to bring guns into churches if they have permission from the property owner. Under the amended version, though, a firearm could not be brought into a church attached to a school during school hours.

Along party lines, the measure cleared the Judiciary Committee which has been a main roadblock for gun legislation in the Senate. Last year, Flores came out strongly against Sen. Greg Steube’s many gun bills.

The House version of the bill does not include the new Senate provision. State Rep. Lawrence McClure, a Hillsborough Republican championing the House effort, said he would not comment on the Senate added language — or whether he would support it — until he got a chance to read it.

Both the Senate and the House measures have a single committee hearing left before they can head to the full floor for consideration.

Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said the effort to allow people to carry firearms in churches with permission would help individuals “protect each other and their children.”

Current state law broadly prohibits a person, including those with concealed weapon licenses from having a gun on public or private school property. Doing so is penalized as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Baxley said his hope is to get his firearm bill to a place that everyone can agree to. Last year, the Senate proposed the same compromise on guns at religious institutions. But the House rejected it.

“If we can’t nip it in the bud a bunch of people are going to get hurt,” Baxley said.

Ana Ceballos

Ana covers politics and policy Before joining the News Service of Florida she wrote for the Naples Daily News and was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. She holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.


13 comments

  • Christopher M. Kennard

    January 26, 2018 at 7:16 am

    Pickets, carrying signs in long lines in front of churches (use to be House of God) ought to broadly advertise each and every church that permits guns to be carried into such buildings and to be used to kill or maim in God’s name . . . other than Jesus, who of course would never permit such a perversion of his message to all people to practice Peace, Love and Faith rather than violence to rule the day.

    The names of the churches and alleged people of faith who seek death and destruction under the falsehood that they are mightier than the word of Jesus or other peacemakers also ought to be broadly advertised, so those who wish to worship the message of Love, Peace and Faith know which place of worship and which Preacher, Pastor or Priest is actually a messenger of God.

    We will begin by making sure our place of worship does not convey the message of death of godlessness through the barrel of a gun in God’s name.

    • Mano Vasilakis

      January 26, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
      Luke 22:36

      Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.
      John 18:10

      Seems you need to read a little more. Yes Jesus loves, but that doesn’t mean someone has the right to take the life of a Christian and the Christian is to be without recourse. Furthermore, as a Christian the demonetization of an object goes against everything in Christendom. An object can have no power over a Christian, and object is neither good, nor bad, it is without soul. Therefore the wickedness in men is what is to be rebuked not the object a man carries. A person doens’t need a weapon to have a murderous heart, and a man with a weapon doesn’t necessarily have a murderous heart.

      • Bill

        January 27, 2018 at 11:15 am

        I read the Bible quite frequently. You can choose to be a sitting duck while some lunatic goes on a shooting rampage. I prefer to live. I’m also aware that God forgives. You don’t carry a gun in hopes of shooting someone else. The purpose of carrying a gun is that you have it to save yourself or someone else if needed. It seems to me that although you may read it in the Bible you don’t truly know the meaning of it. Keep trying to make others look ignorant. It’s not working but is showing the anti gun side of you.

        • Mano

          January 29, 2018 at 1:59 pm

          You think I’m anti gun? I think you misread my post.

    • Bill

      January 26, 2018 at 11:28 pm

      The purpose of taking a gun to church isn’t about killing anyone. It’s about protecting the lives of those who go to church. Protecting both the congregation and children from the instances like what happened in Texas.

      Also, correct me if I’m wrong but was it not Jesus Christ that said that those without a sword to sell their tunic and clothing to buy one?

      Self defense whether in God’s house or anywhere else is still self defense! Would God want those capable of carrying concealed to protect those unarmed against an evil spirited person? I’m going to say yes! Would you sit around and watch as a terrorist shoots all kinds of people including your kids or would you use your pistol and put a stop to it? You need to think of the lesser of the two evils! Protecting life isn’t about taking life.

    • Max

      January 27, 2018 at 12:11 am

      Chris, except it was Christ that told his disciples that if they did not have a sword that they should sell their garments to buy a sword. Also, in the garden when they came for Jesus, Peter pulled his sword and cut off the ear of one of those that came for Jesus. Jesus then told him to put it away, He did not tell him to get rid of it, knowing that the day may come when it would be needed. Additionally, is it not a sin to commit suicide? So, sitting there doing nothing when someone comes to take your life is different how? Bottom line, as Christians we are allowed and to some degree expected to defend ourselves. So, with the times that we live in there is nothing wrong with carrying concealed at church.

  • Peter Goldwing

    January 26, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    from having a fun on public or private school property= typo

    • Bill

      January 26, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      Churches with daycares are not school board properties and should not be governed like it especially when church services are going on weekends and Wednesday nights when the daycare is closed.

      On the school board side, the Democrat enacted gun free zones need to be removed and allow the teachers and faculty to carry which would put a stop to school shootings.

      • Mano

        January 29, 2018 at 2:08 pm

        I agree fully. Not to mention Christians are being persecuted the world over and leaving them unprotected while bunched up is foolish at best, accessory to murder at worst. The state should have zero say on whether private property owners allow or disallow concealed weapons. Furthermore owners of private property cannot take away a right. Best they can do is ask someone to leave if they don’t want them there.

        Current law should be challenged even when it’s private school property. Why should the state have the power to dictate what a private institution does?

  • Betty

    January 29, 2018 at 8:28 am

    HB 1419 and the original Senate bill are a poorly written, overly broad bills no matter what the intent is. As the house bill is currently drafted, churches can override restrictions on guns in ANY of the “sensitive areas” listed in statute, including prisons, secure areas of airports, bars, etc. – not just schools. This is true even if the churches are only renting or borrowing the space and the owner and/or administrator of the property has no recourse to deny permission.

    At least the Senate amendment, with all its flaws, tightens up the language.

  • DanTampa

    January 29, 2018 at 10:30 am

    I can’t help but wonder…if a person ignored the law and concealed carried onto a public school property to pick up his child, just as a crazed shooter began his killing spree. If the good guy with a gun stopped the bad guy with a gun from killing any more of the children…would the antigun crowd want him punished as the current law requires?

    So in the name of saving children’s lives you would prosecute the person that was responsible for saving the lives of your children? Do you not understand how screwed up your ideology is in believing gun laws are the answer to our cultural problem?

    Laws don’t prevent bad guys with a gun from killing, it only provides for the punishment after he has killed. Good guys with guns may not always prevent bad guys with a gun from killing innocent people…but by stopping him…they do decrease the number of victims.

    It’s seems to me the antigun proposals would punish the good guys and enhanced the ability of the bad guy to kill more people. The fact that school shootings are occurring means the bad guys are not following the law. The fact that they are becoming more and more common place…means the good guys are following the laws.

    Liberal ideology is so whacked…it enables the bad guys and turns good guys into felons.

  • Kirk

    January 29, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    People don’t you understand a bad guy will bring a gun in any place he want’s. With or without a sign, without permission from the minister and no mater how the law reads. Don’t restrict the person that has had a back ground check, has had training and paid the fees for the right to carry and protect them selves & others.

  • Jeff Marmaro

    January 29, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    With all due respect, Mr. Kennard is long on emotion, short on logic and facts. Carrying in Church to protect your family and your Christian Brothers and Sisters is in no way ‘Killing and maiming in God’s Name’. He also implies that those who would protect the innocent from the violence of the evildoer are promoting violence. On the contrary, they would be stopping or preventing it. Does he want us to just sit there and get mowed down? Carrying his arguments out to their logical conclusion would have us disarming the police and disbanding our Military. He invokes the term ‘Peace’. Just where does that Peace come from? If those of us who choose to oppose evil rather than ignore it as he would have us do, actually did as he suggests, there would be no peace anywhere or at any time. If anyone chooses not to exercise their right to self-defense, that is their business. However, they have no right to tell others that they have no rights to self-defense or to vilify those who believe in defending their families and friends.
    There are many instances where the Bible tells us to be good stewards of what God has given us. Protecting ourselves and our loved ones, and protecting our belongings and homes fall into this category. Mr. Kennard has ignored recent history apparently as well. He fails to note that the recent church shooting in Texas was stopped by an armed christian. The shooting at the church in Colorado Springs (my brother was there) was stopped by an armed member of that church. Only two were shot before she intervened. If they had to wait for the police to arrive, it is estimated that hundreds, perhaps, would have been injured or killed. Hatred and fear are bred from ignorance. I suggest that Mr. Kennard learns more about firearms and self-defense as an antidote to the obvious fear he seems subject to. In fact, if you are reading this, Mr. Kennard, I would be honored to teach you about firearms and firearm safety and have some Bible studies on these issues. I could even help with some lessons in logic, and history. I come from a family with many NYPD officers and was a sworn Law Enforcement officer myself. Guns are tools, and only tools and are not intrinsically evil. Self Protection is an instinct given to us by God. Ditto the skills to make and use firearms. If an evil person invaded my church or home, I pray that I could be there to oppose them and stop them. When seconds count, the Police are minutes away, and the only thing that can stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun. If a bad man chooses to kill the innocent, their right to life is forfeit by their own choice. They choose, in that moment, that someone will die. Our rights are to choose who; the innocent or the evil. The first choice; that if death and evil, is not our choice but that of the one who came to kill.

    Second, on the legislative side of things, if we want any kind of progress towards restoring our God-Given Rights as enumerated in our inspired Constitution, we should begin by recalling Flores. She has opposed virtually all realistic and effectual efforts to cut back on the infringement of our Second Amendment Rights in Florida. I do not understand why folks let her get away with calling herself a Republican. I almost wish that I lived in Miami so that I could begin the recall efforts.

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